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I'm just curious about flyball in general. I've watched a few videos on YouTube and it seems very repetitive (I think that's the right word) and I was wondering if it is as challenging mentally as agility or obedience, for a dog. Is there something I'm missing in the videos or anything someone would be willing to enlighten me on about flyball.

 

I don't want to offend anyone who does flyball with their dog I'm just curious.

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I know what you mean. There's not enough in it for me and I couldn't stand all the barking, but people who do it say they get fire up by the adrenaline rush of the race. It takes all sorts.

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I want to be sure that my dogs never SEE flyball. Would they love it? No doubt. But I couldn't. The only challenge is to run a short distance (with the related skills....low jumps and grab the ball correctly) really really fast. I just don't get it. As mum24dog says, it takes all sorts.

 

diane

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^^ Both responses express my sentiments exactly.

 

There's no way I'd want my already ball obsessed dog in that environment. Not to mention the barking would drive me nuts!

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The barking seems chaotic to me. However there is some barking at agility competitions, but not to that extent. It also looks like the owner does most of the thinking for the dog.

They hold them until it's their dog's turn then the dogs run over the exact same obsticals over and over until the end of the round.

 

Glad to know I'm not the only one who doesn't find the sport appealing or a good idea for a ball obsessed dog!

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I've given consideration to taking a couple of flyball classes, and might well do it this year.


...with my chihuahua mutt, that I am working on developing toy drive in. Molly? No. No way. Not unless I see some radical changes in her.


Also no to competing ever, for a couple of reasons, one of them being my tolerance for noise and chaos being too low for it and the other being that I've seen more than a few dogs who do flyball seriously wind up with fairly broken down front ends from repeatedly hitting the box in exactly the same way. I know good training can minimize/remove this, but I don't like it. At least agility mixes up the stress on the dog, you know?

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Yes - to the posts above

 

Chaotic, repetitive, loud, mind-numbing and high potential for injury (my rehab vet saw (she is retired) a huge number of front end injuries due to flyball).

 

In spite of that, I have enjoyed watching it the few times I saw it on TV. I have gone to a few competitions to watch, and that has also been interesting - for about 45 minutes - then I have had enough.

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I'm on a flyball team, and I can say at this point I do much prefer agility. Since the courses always change, there's something different about the way agility is that flyball just doesn't match up to for me. Plus, with agility, I work with Kieran the entire time. For flyball, Kieran only gets out for about 10-15 minutes during the entire 1-2 hour practice. Doing that only once a week, I'm surprised he's doing full runs when we only started in April.

 

Don't get me wrong, flyball is fun (and everyone has been telling me it's not really that great UNTIL you get out to a tournament). Just not as fun as agility, which we haven't even competed in yet. And I get more exercise doing agility, lol. I think flyball is something people bond over more, since it's completely a team sport.

 

Also, you'd be surprised by the amount of things that can go wrong with running to a box to get a ball and coming back.

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I actually enjoy watching flyball sometimes. In person I'm limited to maybe a half hour before I can't take the noise, but video where I can turn the volume down can be fun!

There is some other skill involved - like not dropping the ball, coming all the way back, and of course the change over of dogs can't happen too early or too late, and your dog has to stay in their own lane and doing their 'job' in a really distracting environment. I'm not knocking that.


It just isn't my thing. I like agility trials more, anyway. Sport aside, I like the environment better. The atmosphere is just a lot more pleasant to hang out in. It's like an all day picnic with dog people, dogs, and dog games.

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I think one of the biggest issues, at least for me, is building drive for flyball. Kieran is a fast dog, but you wouldn't know it if you watched him doing it. At practice, he just traipses over to the box, versus in agility he's a bullet and totally lights up.

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Borasaurus am I correct in my understanding that it is a more people oriented sport than dog oriented or am I missing something else? What I mean by that is you have to release the dog to let them run at exactly the right time and while it's repetitive at times it does allow the humans to bond as a team to. Also do you feel that your dog was(is?) as mentally challenged by flyball as agility? I'm here to learn so any input or opinion you have will help me understand this sport a little better!

 

The atmosphere at agility trials, in my area at least, is a very welcoming one and people do bond there I've met many friends at the trials. I do understand though that agility is more of an every person for themselves sport rather than a team sport like flyball. There is only one person I've met at my trials that is more concerned with their own dog/performance than helping others out. Everyone else seems to genuinely want everyone there to do well.

 

I feel like I should clarify by unappealing I meant that it didn't grab me like agility did when I first saw it making me think 'That looks like so much fun, I can't wait to do that with my dog!'. Then again neither did rally-o or formal obedience, but I know people that love those sports way more than agility. Everyone is entitled to their preference. :)

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I think one of the biggest issues, at least for me, is building drive for flyball. Kieran is a fast dog, but you wouldn't know it if you watched him doing it. At practice, he just traipses over to the box, versus in agility he's a bullet and totally lights up.

A bit off topic, but the point about a dog's preference for a given 'sport' is also important.

 

My rescue dog, Ritz (who I adopted 15 years ago) was the first dog I took any type of 'obedience' class with. The instructor was really good. In fact, she had some great handouts that I saved. One thing she said that stayed with me is that you should find an activity that BOTH you and your dog like.

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I think it's more of a people sport...just the impression I get. Like all the teams know each other and hang out every so often. For example, we just held a demo with a neighboring team at a dog festival. Kieran was crated for most of the time.

 

Flyball does require a lot of thinking from the human, but for the dog eventually it becomes muscle memory. For now, it's been challenging for Kieran because he's been learning how to put every step together. However, I feel he's almost to the point where he won't have to think very much soon. I want him to learn that he has to go as fast as he can before he gets that muscle memory and stays a slowpoke. Next practice, I was thinking of asking if I could boxload for him instead of running him, so that he'd be driving toward me instead of away. There's definitely a lot of challenge on the human side.

 

In agility, he and I constantly have to think. It feels like much more of a partnership. In flyball, a lot of thought goes into the lineup of the dogs and which dogs are going on which team (they race in different standards based on speed). So the preparation is more where a lot of the thinking goes. You still do have to think on the fly (hehe) during a competition if a dog isn't doing well or something else comes up. I think the most thinking has to be done by the boxloader though.

 

I'm going to be moving soon and on a more restricted budget, to the point where I was thinking of which I would give up first. Agility is considerably more expensive than flyball, which I think is also what draws a lot of people to flyball. I don't think I'd be able to give up agility though over flyball.

 

I think the best advice I could give is to go try it out and see how you and your dog like it. Our club lets people come to three or four practices for free before having to pay dues as a member.

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Some of figuring out your dog's preference is also figuring out what motivates them. Lyka sometimes disconnects when doing agility for treats, but if I get out the 'special agility toy' (aka ball on a rope) she is the most motivated dog ever and will do anything I ask of her with great enthusiasm. My trainer suggested that I use the toy whenever possible and it has really made her enjoy agility. Lyka will trick train with only treats, but something with her makes agility require something more fun.

 

However, my trainer's current dog loves agility, but completely shuts down mentally when she tried rally-o with him. She has titled several of her previous dogs in it, so it's not like she doesn't know what she's doing and confusing him. He can preform all the behaviors, but nothing is good enough to make him really enjoy it, so she decided to not push him into it. The only exception is being a demo dog for her class when she's trying to explain something complicated or show how something should be done.

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Yes, exactly. Kieran is the kind of "up for anything" sort of dog. He gets really excited at flyball and when he's taken out to practice. But I know he enjoys agility more just from how he performs.

 

A bit off topic, but the point about a dog's preference for a given 'sport' is also important.

 

My rescue dog, Ritz (who I adopted 15 years ago) was the first dog I took any type of 'obedience' class with. The instructor was really good. In fact, she had some great handouts that I saved. One thing she said that stayed with me is that you should find an activity that BOTH you and your dog like.

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Some of figuring out your dog's preference is also figuring out what motivates them. Lyka sometimes disconnects when doing agility for treats, but if I get out the 'special agility toy' (aka ball on a rope) she is the most motivated dog ever and will do anything I ask of her with great enthusiasm. My trainer suggested that I use the toy whenever possible and it has really made her enjoy agility. Lyka will trick train with only treats, but something with her makes agility require something more fun.

 

Another thing about flyball is that there's a lot of emphasis placed on getting a dog to tug as a reward. It's easier during a competition to just let the dog go and then run with the tug to motivate them to drive back. Kieran isn't toy motivated at all. I've really had to work on building toy drive, and it's still not to the point where I could pull out a motivating toy at practice and use it as a reward. His problem though is running to the box. Coming back, he's all speedy because he knows he's going to get a treat, so his not being on a tug doesn't really bother me.

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A bit off topic, but the point about a dog's preference for a given 'sport' is also important.

 

My rescue dog, Ritz (who I adopted 15 years ago) was the first dog I took any type of 'obedience' class with. The instructor was really good. In fact, she had some great handouts that I saved. One thing she said that stayed with me is that you should find an activity that BOTH you and your dog like.

 

This is my thing. I know some of it's building value into the activity with the reward, and goodness knows Kylie didn't light up and turn onto agility right away - not even as fast as Molly, who had a bunch of other stuff going on, but she sure got there.

 

Conversely, I don't think there's much I could do to make the dog light up if they really didn't like the activity, you know? At some point the dog does understand the point of the game and if they don't find it fun, they don't find it fun. There are dogs who will run agility from love of their handler but never really love *the game*. I don't think that's bad, and I do think those dogs are having fun.

 

There's just something so special about a dog really turning onto it, though.

 

Also interested that flyball is cheaper for some people. Flyball here isn't expensive class wise (it's about the same) but running fees and the more rigorous travel I think makes it ultimately more expensive. My impression might just be dead wrong, though.

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Also interested that flyball is cheaper for some people. Flyball here isn't expensive class wise (it's about the same) but running fees and the more rigorous travel I think makes it ultimately more expensive. My impression might just be dead wrong, though.

 

It might have to do with me being in the area flyball started in. There are a ton of teams around and the dues aren't that pricy. There are a lot of local tournaments as a result of all the teams.

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I have no idea how anyone keeps a serious flyball dog sound.

 

My parents have a Boston Terrier who has played fetch since he was 1. He rebounds off the wall to play, and now at 4 he has some serious wrist and shoulder problems. I told them not to play ball like that, but it's not my dog. It can't be much harder than the stress on a flyball dog's joints. I know there are risks involved with all activities, but I'd be really disinclined to put a really driven, physical dog in a sport like flyball.

 

I couldn't possibly handle the noise. I'd probably strangle people, dogs, or both. But it seems like a really good social activity for plenty of people.

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Count me in as one who will never do flyball for all the reasons mentioned above. What I love about agility is that it is a team sport, dog and human are working together no leash connecting you, and to get it fast and smooth you have to really understand what each other requires, Rievaulx and I have been training together since he was a 4 month old puppy and as he is my first fast and ridiculously responsive agility dog, I am still learning to drive him 5 1/2 years into the process, and he is still learning to not get frustrated with me and when it clicks it is the most amazing rush.

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Any sport can be a people sport - it just depends on the people taking part. I couldn't take part in anything where there was no camaraderie and mutual support.

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Just to add that the logistics alone would put me off fly hall. I don't have to liaise with anyone else if I want to enter an agility or obedience but trying to get people together for an agility team competition puts me off teams as a way of life because of the difficulty of getting everyone together at the right place on the same day.

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I've done a bit of flyball, but haven't kept it up due to my team practicing a few hours away, the necessity of coordinating with a team (I'm not big on making commitments months in advance) and the long days and weekends of a tournament (12 hour days, all weekend long?). With that said, my dog LOOOOOOOOOVES it.

 

The last tournament that we were at, when she realized we were there to do flyball, she turned herself into her happy "U" and wiggled at me outside the building, tongue lolling to one side. It wasn't a response I'd ever seen from her before! It's repetitive and loud, yes, but I think that's what the dogs love so much about it. It's a high octane environment where the smallest variations in performance can be the difference between winning and losing.

 

I don't know about mentally challenging. To me, it's an area where the dogs can amped up and run their hearts out. It's engaging for them, surely. Does everything need to be mentally challenging? Sometimes the dogs just want to run, and I'm happy to oblige. My dog (Aussie, not BC) is a total adrenaline junkie and thrives in the environment.

 

We also do agility, competitive obedience, public performances and trick training. Cohen gets plenty of exercises in team building and self control when we participate in those.

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I was curious about the mental challenge because my dog thrives on being challenged mentally (like a lot of border collies), and while she can run all day or fetch all day it doesn't seem to really wear her out like a good mental challenge. The only way I can get her to wind down completely at night is to give her a frozen kong to work at for an hour or so.

 

Other dogs I know would be just as happy to run all day long and don't care if there is a mental challenge. Again I know it's about knowing your particular dog.

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About the particular dog and about what *you*, the human in the equation, wants.

 

Does everything the dog does need to be mentally challenging? ...No, of course not. My dogs all do lots and lots of things that aren't mentally challenging. But when *I* am considering spending money and time on a dog sport, a structured activity for both me and the dog I want a couple of things out of it, and one of those is me and my dog playing together and the other is it be something that works my dogs brain (and mine!) along with our bodies.

 

No one said that it had to be a mental challenge to be worthwhile to a given person or dog combo. It doesn't. It's just that I can do all the mindless exciting adrenaline high, fast moving, stuff that _I_ want to do with my dogs for free.


Likewise, I'm not much interested in obedience or rally, for the same reasons - I can do obedience training on my own, and do, and it isn't fun for me - the owner.

 

Agility is a perfect storm for me of mental work, physical work, challenge for the dog, challenge for me, and requiring things I do not have access to. Ergo, that's what I pay for and participate in. It's fun for me, it's fun for the dog, and because there's a training challenge (constantly) and it requires stuff I don't have or know, I'm very willing to pay for it.


Flyball isn't being knocked here, it just isn't something a lot of us, basically, find fun enough for the outlay and time/money expense and risk to the dog.

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